All entries for Monday 22 April 2013

April 22, 2013

Tyrannosaur – power and domestic violence

It may seem a little odd to be writing a blog post about a film released in 2011, but Tyrannosaur has remained with me as being an important and successful film since I watched it all that time ago… and with our recent discussions at GK towers around power, it sprang to mind as a film which gives us a very true, albeit very literal depiction of power in relationships – and complements the activist-orientated elements of the GK project.

Paddy Considine (ace) directs and Olivia Colman (very ace) plays Hannah the main female character. It is really difficult to watch in places, purely because it’s portrayal of domestic violence and abuse is so true to life and realistic. I actually thought I might not be able to watch it through to the end, but I did - although I did have to sit in a dark room afterwards to process what I’d just seen.

I really loved that it addressed some of the stereotypes and myths surrounding domestic abuse – something that I didn’t expect when I sat down to watch it. Hannah, the survivor, is a middle class woman (not working class) living in a 'nice' house in suburbia (not a council estate) - her husband is a pillar of the community, liked by everyone - good job, nice car, the perfect husband. Hannah can't speak to anybody about the violence, because who would believe her?

I can’t tell you how many women I have worked with who’s abusers are loved by the neighbours and community and are charming everywhere but behind closed doors, putting doubt in the minds of everybody that he is actually a perpetrator – very often including his victim.

I also really like the comments on class (and power) throughout the film. Hannah builds a relationship with Joseph, a 'working class' man, it's a difficult relationship but a positive one and there are lots of really lovely moments.

Remarkably, and I only saw this recently... in IMDB's blurb on the film, domestic violence isn't mentioned - the film is described as being about Joseph, his self destruction and subsequent redemption. Interesting…

There are probably many other themes and issues within the film that are worthy of discussion; it’s a while since I watched it and these are just the themes prevalent enough to have remained within the depths of my murky memory. I just know that throughout the film, I was impressed by the sensitive and very real way domestic violence was dealt with and portrayed. It’s a beautiful film.

I won’t go in to any more detail in case I ruin it for anybody; but if anyone else has seen it, I’d be really interested to hear your views… and if you haven’t, I would recommend you give it a go.


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